What Run Oregon is Wearing: Thunderbolt Sportswear

We love highlighting local companies here at Run Oregon. While we have a lot of great relationships with people and businesses around the globe, we love it when we have the chance to keep things local. Thunderbolt Sportswear was founded in 2010 and remains in Portland near Cedar Hills and Barnes Road. We connected a few weeks ago and we are happy to have had the opportunity to check out some of their items. Here's a little bit more about their company.

We’re a small group of industry veterans who believe there’s a better way, that your favorite clothes can do far more, waste far less, and still look great. We source the finest performance fabrics from the world’s best textile mills, and we produce our clothing in small runs close to home to ensure the highest quality and consistency. While other brands seek out the cheapest mass-produced fabrics and soulless factories, we choose to go in the opposite direction. We prize ultra-premium, sustainable fabrics and local, accountable manufacturing above all.

We know our customers because we are our customers. Our business is not driven by shareholders, outside investors, or a board of directors. We simply serve you, and we’re dedicated to exceeding your expectations with every single cut and stitch.

Why Thunderbolt? Beyond being the source of an ancient, iconic symbol, the thunderbolt is simply a powerful force of nature that equalizes the energy of the heavens and the earth. For us, it captures the idea of turning your dreams (heavens) into reality (earth)—in a flash. This is our goal in designing clothing that encourages everyday adventure, whether off-the-cuff or meticulously planned. Our customers don’t just sit in front of laptops daydreaming about single track runs, alpine rambles, and exotic travels; they make them happen, without hesitation. And that’s who we are and how we live, too. That’s Thunderbolt.

Item Information:

Initial Impressions (Mark II Jeans):

Original Jeans – Mark II Blacktop

When I first pulled these out of the bag and put them on, I wasn’t fully sure that I like them. They were definitely really well made, but they had a shinier sheen than I anticipated. My wife even gently chided me that, in the right light, they kind of looked like pleather. However, after a full day of wearing them – I was completely sold on them.

Come to find out that the reason they looked a little shinier was in the way they are constructed:

  • Imported Swiss fabric
  • Schoeller® Dryskin soft-shell with NanoSphere® treatment.
  • Double woven blend of nylon, polyester, & spandex manufactured in accordance with Bluesign

A little Google searching led me to Schoeller Textiles and their Dryskin fabric which is said to basically combine three things that us runners love – breathability, durability, and comfort. Toss in some water repellant features and a solid stretch, and it’s easy to see why this may be a runner’s dream – in casual pants form. They do look a little more “technical” than casual if that makes sense – hence the little shine that denim jeans don’t possess. However, as you can see, it is for a purpose.

As someone who is constantly moving, either at work or picking up my kids, I know that some casual pants are not exactly conducive to this. Many/most casual pants and jeans can ever make it a challenge to go from standing to crouching without some serious maneuvering. The construction of the Mark II’s was incredible in this realm and I had about as full a range of motion as I ever had in a pair of jeans. The stretch was amazing and super comfortable. They also only weigh about a pound or so, so it makes things even more manageable. On my first test, I had initially planned on only wearing these to church and back. However, I had no desire to take them off and ended up staying in them all day.

The do carry a bit of a price tag, but I can tell these will get a ton of wear and last longer than other mid-range jeans that I purchase (and subsequently shrink or become unwearable within 9-12 months). They also can work in a variety of settings – from church and work to date nights and soccer games.

Some other specs:

  • Hidden zipper on right rear pocket creates a secure place for stuff you can’t afford to lose, sized just right for a passport
  • Reinforced ‘no-stretch’ waistband
  • Straight leg fit – not baggy, not skinny
  • 90 Day No Hassle Guarantee

Initial Impressions (Baseline Tee):

Baseline Tee – Long Sleeve

By now, most runners are familiar with Merino Wool and the qualities that it possesses – durable, quick drying, odor resistant, and soft. This is not news to us and I would venture a guess that most of us have at least a couple Merino tops available to us. The Baseline Tee from Thunderbird would be a viable option for your closet if you need one or are looking to expand.

The shirt fit as I expected and didn’t have anything to complain about – it was just a well-constructed and comfortable baselayer. As someone with longer arms, I found the length to be on-point and actually fit at a comfortable level for me. It seems to have the qualities that we come to expect from Merino tops and is a solid choice.

The biggest drawback is probably the fact that it is a little on the pricier side for a Merino top. However, you can feel good knowing that you are purchasing an item that was designed and sewn right here in Portland. On top of that, the materials are sourced from farms who are utilizing mulesing-free shearing (mulesing shearing is something I didn’t know about, but after researching is kinda gross).

Follow Thunderbolt Sportswear on Facebook and Instagram. Check out the rest of their catalog as well, which includes socks, short sleeve tops, and hoodies.


Thank you to Thunderbolt Sportswear for providing us with test shoes. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.


About Matt Rasmussen (1576 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.
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